While all SA rugby fans are justifiably ecstatic about the senior team’s performance against Wales, the junior Boks made me immensely proud on Sunday.
Winning against a determined Baby Blacks side was wonderful, given the steam roller approach by the home side. Our youngsters kept their cool, and stuck to their game plan. One almost got the idea that the young Kiwis started losing their cool as wave after wave of attack brought little by way of points.
With the scores locked on 25-25 I got the impression that the young Blacks were content to see out the game and try again in extra time. Not so for Pollard and his team. Everything worked perfectly in their favour, including the final line-out where they could wreak havoc with a driving maul, and the captain putting the cherry on top with a successful goal kick from the side line.
The most amazing part of Sunday’s victory is that they have now beaten the Baby Blacks four times in a row, something that I do not think the senior side has ever achieved. Bear in mind that many of these players will be the future flag bearers for our national rugby side. Approaching a match, confident of winning because you have done it before, is a lot different from having doubts in your sub-conscious about your ability to do so.
Pollard is definitely a part of the exciting new generation coming through, not only as flyhalf, but also as captain. His calm resolve under pressure, and keeping his side focused, played a major part in their victory, apart from the points he scored and his excellent line kicking.
There was a lot of unhappiness in the Cape when the young Paarl schoolboy opted to go to the Bulls after school, rather than follow the traditional route of going to Maties. His choice, based on the professional structures at the Bulls, was the right option. They are slowly blooding him into the requirements at senior level, rather than pushing him too fast.
Julle manne daar by die Bulle moet darem net onthou: ‘n goeie bul het nie ‘n swak stamboom het nie.
Wales will be back
The biggest challenge for the Boks after lambasting Wales on Saturday will be to keep their feet on the ground. The visitors only played one practice match before this test, while most of our players are match fit after the Super series, and the tough match against the World XV.
The much vaunted Welsh pack certainly took a drilling on Saturday, with the legendary Adam Jones replaced after 30 minutes. A partly rested Beast added to the havoc when he came on, and baby boomer Lood de Jager was possibly the happiest man on the field when he replaced Bakkies after halftime. I suspect Bakkies may be rested this coming weekend, with Flip van der Merwe available again.
Speculation around the percolator this morning is that Fourie du Preez was the catalyser which led to Morné Steyn having his best game in years, with the resultant influence on the rest of the backline.
All is not yet in place in the Bok side, but what a platform to build on. I recall Willie le Roux being dropped once for what was deemed to be his weakness under the high ball. On Saturday he proved that he has overcome this through hard work, and the rest is history.
Zane Kirchner, who turned 30 this weekend, has apparently recovered from injury and will push for a place in the side.
Next Soccer World Cup
After the controversy in Brazil about getting the show on the road, it hit the ground running, in a manner of speaking. The Dutch and the Germans certainly made impressive starts, and the big score lines indicate an adventurous approach by most sides.
I am going to propose to FIFA that it considers Hollywood as the venue for all future Soccer World Cups. Not only are there very experienced scene builders who can take the hassle out of getting stadiums ready in time, but the raft of directors can contribute handsomely to the standard of acting.
They can also arrange the tournament to tie in with the Academy Awards, which will save a lot in terms of logistics in getting the world’s best actors together.